AnimaList No 172

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IDAHO JUDGE RULES STATE'S AG-GAG LAW UNCONSTITUTIONAL 12/12/2018

This week, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit became the first federal appellate court to strike down provisions of an "ag-gag" law, ruling that Idaho's ban on recording conditions at factory farms and slaughterhouses violated free speech rights. Idaho initially passed legislation in 2014 that banned filming practices at animal agriculture operations after animal-rights organization Mercy For Animals released footage of rampant animal cruelty at Idaho's Bettencourt Dairy—and the state's $2.5 billion dairy industry complained that the videos unfairly hurt their businesses. Drafted by the Idaho Dairymen's Association, the law would have criminalized investigative public interest journalism. A lawsuit was filed the same year by a coalition of public interest groups and journalists led by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) and it has been an ongoing court battle since then. "Idaho is singling out for suppression one mode of speech—audio and video recordings of agricultural operations—to keep controversy and suspect practices out of the public eye," the court ruled. Idaho has been ordered to pay $260,000 to the ALDF and others involved in the case. (vegnews.com)

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